Flutter Vs React Native: Which one is Better and Why?

March 4, 2022

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There was a time when the mobile app industry was restricted to code and developing apps separately for different platforms i.e. iOS and Android, but now the tables are turned. Emerging technologies let mobile app developers code once and be used on cross platforms.

Nowadays cross-platform app frameworks are under the radar of every organization present in the world. This started when Facebook launched its cross-platform app development framework in 2015 which is now well-known as React Native.

Today more than 6.5 million people are using smartphones across the world and it is estimated that by 2027 the number will cross 7.5 million. According to Statista.com, nearly all mobile apps account for 57% of mobile internet traffic as a share of total global online traffic. This data indicates that ho significant it is to have a mobile app for businesses operating across the globe.

In addition, proven data shows that unique mobile users worldwide grew by 95 million over the period of 12 months. Thus the rate is increasing by 1.8 percent. You must have now got an understanding that the need of the hour is delivering a speedy, engaging, relevant app with an excellent customer experience. </

For this, the framework you choose to build your app plays a major role.

In this article, we’ll help you with choosing the right framework for your cross-platform app development and how to choose the best Flutter app development company. For other queries, you can see our blog section where we discussed other questions.

Flutter vs React Native: A look at some trends

Before diving deep into understanding the differences between Flutter and React Native, let’s first get to know the basics and some primary features of both frameworks.

What is Flutter

Flutter is an open-source mobile UI framework which was originally developed and maintained by Google. The popularity of this framework is because of its feature to develop cross-platform using a single code base. It uses Dart language which is also developed by Google. It is considered an alternative to JavaScript made on the belief that the latter has some limitations which can not be resolved by further developing the language.

Dart is easy to learn than JS due to the easier syntax which is similar to human language. It contains fewer commands but provides more options. This makes developers choose any names for variables that can make the code more understandable for themselves. Although this has to be done carefully when more than one developer is going to work on it.

According to insights published by Stack Overflow, in 2020, 62.1% of global developers loved the Dart language and expressed their interest to continue working in it whereas the number for JavaScript was lower than that and it was nearly 58.3%.

Primary Facts About Flutter

  • A cross-platform user interface system developed in 2017 by Google
  • It is X-compiled which means it communicates with mobile devices natively
  • A cross-platform technology used to develop almost native mobile applications
  • Has the ability to port the same code to the web portal

Some popular apps developed using Flutter language are:

  • Google Ads
  • BMW
  • Alibaba
  • Tencent

What is React Native

React Native uses JavaScript backed by Facebook and is a popular cross-platform app development framework. It is majorly used to develop native mobile apps compatible with Android and iOS. This framework is written in JSX which means a combination of JavaScript and XML -Esque markup.

Although the React and ReactJs libraries are somewhat similar there’s a little important difference that one should know. The major difference lies in the development part. In React platform, the virtual DOM is utilized to generate code for browser-based apps in ReactJS. Whereas React Native APIs are used to create components for mobile-based applications in the same platform.

The core rules, the process, and the rest of things are similar. This is why one who has experience working in any one of the platforms can easily learn and work on another one.

Primary Facts About React Native

  • A UI software framework was launched by Meta Platforms, Inc. in 2015.
  • It is modular and intuitive architecture
  • Support for third-party libraries
  • Maximum Code Reuse & Cost Saving

Some popular apps developed using Flutter language are:

  • Meta
  • Instagram
  • UberEats
  • Walmart

What is common amongst them?

React Native and Flutter are both popular cross-platform mobile app development choices at the present time that can function on both iOS and Android platforms. All rivalries have a number of things in common well, otherwise, there would be no competition at all. So, let’s first understand the shared qualities between these two, and then we’ll walk through their differences.

Here are the similarities between the two famous cross-platform mobile development toolkits:

  • Using a single codebase high-performance cross-platform applications are created
  • Using their own native components to display a user interface or 2D graphics engine and no web technology is used by them
  • The apps built by both platforms are almost indistinguishable
  • The architecture of both platforms are inspired by Reactjs
  • The apps are highly flexible and are not tied to any platform-specific design constraints

How do they differ from each other?

Now that you’ve understood the similarities between the Flutter and React Native frameworks, we’ll go through the major differences. We will understand the factors that make entrepreneurs choose one for their business needs. Each framework has its own advantages and disadvantages and depending on your project parameters you should choose one.

The important thing is to understand the underlying differences between both frameworks rather than just following the trend and whatever people are saying. Let’s dig in and understand Flutter vs React Native based on some parameters.

1. Programming language

Dart & Flutter Framework: Dart programming language was developed in 2011for the Flutter framework. Many developers say that it is easy and fast to run code in this language than React Native. It comprises a number of OOP concepts which makes it easy to learn. Nowadays the popularity of the Dart language is increasing and more developers are turning towards it.

JavaScript & React Native Framework: JavaScript is one of the most popular and widely used languages to create cross-platform apps. It is primarily used to build apps in React Native along with other JS frameworks. It has built-in modules which make this framework save your money and time. There are several React Native app development companies in the world and the reason they choose this framework is due to the ease of working in JS and this framework.

2. Installation

Flutter – Tricky & Slow to Install: Anyone who wants to install this framework need to first download the binary from GitHub. If you are going to install this framework in the mac operating system, you need to follow an additional step i.e. download an additional .zip file and add it as a PATH variable. This is one of the key differences between React Native and Flutter. It is tricky and slower to install.

React Native – Fast & Easy to Install: When it comes to the installation of this framework, the process is easy and seamless. You can use the Node Package Manager for fast and effortless installation provided you have a good command of JavaScript language.

You must note that online installation is lacking in both cases. The only thing that when it comes to macOS, an extra step is added to Flutter. So, you can choose anyone depending on other factors.

3. Architecture

Flutter – Skia: As Flutter has a number of in-built native components so it does not require a bridge for communication with native components. But if you want to use it, you can use Dart language VM along with Skia which is a 2D graphics rendering library in a platform-specific shell. Dart VM compiles the source code and creates native code ahead of time. This stage is critical as the code just needs to be compiled in a way that integrates seamlessly with Android and iOS systems. No additional programming bridges are required to make things work.

React Native – Flux: React Native uses Flux architecture which is used by Facebook but it requires JavaScript as a bridge for integration. This fact makes app designing a little slower than Dart. It uses JS runtime environment architecture.

4. Development Time

React Native: An expert in JavaScript finds it easy to work in React Native. This framework comes with a hot reload feature that helps in saving developers’ time to a great extent. Also, the developers are free to use any IDE or text editor to write code.

Flutter: A hot reload feature is also present in this framework but it is a little difficult to learn and use the new Flutter concepts. Dart is a new language and lacks support to many text editors and IDEs which restricts its expanding nature and thus lowers developers’ productivity.

5. UI and Development API

Flutter: This framework mainly relies on its own customized development language. This framework is completely customized with the use of its own widgets. The stark difference in UI development of both frameworks will be one of the factors that create the possibility of Flutter replacing React Native. When working with this framework you do not need any third-party apps or components and its hand-in-glove compatibility with Google differentiates it from other frameworks. Its widgets are already are consistent i.e. Material Design for Google and Cupertino for Apple platforms.

React Native: This framework uses third-party or customized frameworks. It has a few ready-to-use widgets and building and designing an app in this framework need more work and expertise. The React Native API rendering library may not support some native UI elements that may render the UI a bit off.

6. Code Reusability

Flutter: In Flutter vs React Native comparison, code reusability is one the most important points to consider. The code written in the Flutter framework is more reusable than in the React Native framework. This allows developers to create and define a single UI widget tree that can be reused again. The defined logic can be used repeatedly without making a lot of differences in it.

React Native: React Native allows you to write code once and ship it to any platform. But it usually comes with some caveats which mean that compatibility with each mobile app platform is not always guaranteed. This means that developers may first have to check the platform compatibility and load various sets of components to make it work again and again. These modifications can affect the development time and cost.

7. Quality Assurance

Flutter: Flutter also offers integrated quality-control testing features similar to other programs developed and launched by Google. You can easily test a single widget, in addition, integration testing can also be done easily. It also offers detailed testing documentation.

React Native: Sadly this framework has no or less integrated unit test features. Developers can use third-party frameworks such as Jest or Detox to get this facility. It is an add-on functionality but can be easily integrated.

8. Popularity & Community Support

Flutter: This framework is new in the development community and people are still getting to know it and are starting to work on it.

As per the 2019-2021 survey results of Statista.com, Flutter is the most popular and widely used framework by global developers and 42% of global software developers used this framework in 2021. Although React Native was leading in popularity in 2019 and 2020, last year i.e. in 2021, the tables turned and Flutter wins the race.

React Native: Because of the ease of programming in JavaScript, React Native gained huge popularity. Many people use this technology to build cross-platform mobile apps because of the features that we are discussing.

According to Stack Overflow’s Developer’s Survey of 2021, 13.55% of the community loved and showed interest in working with the Flutter framework. And when it comes to React Native, the percentile increased and reached 14.51.

9. DevOps & CI/CD Support

Flutter: We know that Flutter lost a point in community support but it gains what it lost in CI/CD official documentation. In the documentation of the Flutter framework, there is a complete section in the documentation dedicated to DevOps and CI/CD support. It includes numerous links that help in the addition of CI/CD to its applications an easy and convenient process. It is estimated that the usage of this support is likely to increase.

React Native: Facebook assured that React Native framework has several third-party libraries, third-party support, help guides, and a lot more. When it comes to comparing both frameworks in terms of DevOps Support, React Native is a clear winner. Developers find it easy and enjoy using it.

10. Performance

Flutter: In Flutter vs ReactNative comparison based on performance, Flutter wins the point. Flutter does not have a JavaScript bridge and thus it runs faster and saves a lot of development time. The animation standard is set at 60 FPS in Flutter which is proof of its speedy performance. Its elegance and power of design are favoring points.

React Native: In React Native, a JavaScript bridge is required to initiate the interaction with the native components. Due to this, the speed of development and running time slows down. But if you’re using this framework, you can overcome this drawback by using third-party libraries to optimize bytecodes e.g. Proguard.

Flutter vs. React Native: Tabular Comparison

FeatureReact NativeFlutter
VendorMetaGoogle
Programming LanguageC++, Java, JavaScript, Objective-C, PythonDart
InstallationQuick InstallationSlow Installation
ArchitectureMeta’s Flux Architecture Is UsedIn-built native components
Development TimeReady to use components lessens development timeMore development time is taken than React Native
Community SupportExtensiveLimited but fast-growing
Code ReusabilityYou can keep the logic and structure of the components but have to re-write the Ul code.Having its own set of libraries, Futter allows you to reuse 95% of the code.
Quality AssuranceYou can use third-party frameworks for this facilityAllows Unit as well as integration testing
DevOps & CI/CD SupportHigh DevOps SupportBoth DevOps and CI/CD support is available
PerformanceGood performanceSuperior Performance

A Framework to Choose which one is right for you

React Native is an ideal framework if you want to build simple cross-platform and native apps. On the other hand, Flutter works better when you have to create MVP apps and various integrations. To make a clear decision, we’ve created a checklist to help you select the best technology for your app.

One should choose Flutter, if:

  • You don’ need full native functionality in your app.
  • You have a less budget and a short delivery timeline.
  • You have to do fast coding and launch it quickly in the market.
  • You have to create apps that work at a speed between 60 FPS and 120 FPS.
  • You want to create an app and customize its UI with widgets and less testing.

One should choose React native, if:

  • Scaling of existing applications with cross-platform modules is required.
  • You have to create applications that are lightweight native.
  • You want to create shared APIs.
  • You want to create apps with high responsive UI and asynchronous build.
  • You have a sufficient amount of time and money to spend on your business app.

Conclusion

To conclude, Flutter and React Native have their own characteristics and are both good for building mobile apps. The platform that you choose to work with depends totally on your requirements, so, understand the factors that differentiate one from the other. If you’re still in dilemma, get the right guidance from an expert mobile app developer. RV Technologies is one of the best mobile app development companies in Canada, the USA, and other countries, and since inception, we’ve been working hard to deliver quality requirements. For both React Native and Flutter app development services, you can rely on us. Professional and experienced managers at RV Technologies world be happy and love to help you sort this all for you.

About the Author Sandeep Kumar is a Director at RV Technologies. Having an inclination towards software development, Sandeep always ensures to stay on top of the latest development technologies and how to implement them in real-world projects. He is always ready to share his insight with the developers so that they can also leverage the modern-day tech stack and build futuristic digital solutions for clients. Apart from overseeing all the development projects, Sandeep also likes to write down and share his insights with the world to familiarize people with the latest technologies and their potential in our everyday lives.

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